I finally managed to race at a triathlon race last week. Actually, I wasn't planning to travel for a triathlon race, but when they decided to organize it in Istanbul, I wouldn't miss it. :)
It was held on 18th of October on Sunday under so-called ''health safety measures'. I personally believe it is exaggerated and there is no need for so much rules. Anyway, I had to accept the facts and went to take my Race Kit on Saturday. They took our temperature at the entrance and there were ''stand here'' stickers on the floor, so we won't get infected from the virus :) It was a swift process and I really liked to race t-shirt and I came back to home immediately.
I woke up at 5:00am on the race morning. I had a very small breakfast. I normally don't eat much unless it is 70.3 or 140.6 race.
It was going to start at 8:15am and it was a 1 hour drive from home. I arrived to the location around 6.45am and packed my race stuff. I warmed up a bit and checked in my bike. It began to rain heavily at 7.50am and they announced that the race will start a bit later.. However, we had to wait under cold and heavy rainy weather almost an hour. There were tents near the check-in point but it wasn't protecting the athletes from cold. Finally, I managed to get into water at 8.52am. I had a really good start until someone suddenly stopped in front of me, I crushed him and lost my sight. I swam to the wrong direction for almost 100meters. Since it was wavy, I couldn't see the correct direction clearly. I finished the swim part in 15'23''. I could have done it around 14 minutes. I came to T1 with a strong audience support. I really liked it! It is something you would not see in Turkey.
It was the first time I was using my Suunto 9 G1 Lime at a triathlon race, I lapped it and it was on transition. When I wanted to change the sport, it was already changed to bike automatically. I didn't know that :( and I changed it to T2 by mistake. Therefore, I stopped Triathlon mode on the bike and opened normal cycling session. :) (I am going to check that one. )
I was very careful during bike. I reminded myself ''Ahmet this is not your life goal.. you have long-term plans. So don't rush! Enjoy it!'' It was raining, dogs were attacking and the road was slippery. I couldn't handle any other accident during race. I was very cautious. However, dogs were hungry :) They surrounded myself and I just couldn't pass from them since they were waiting at a turning point. It would be too risky for me. So I got off from my bike and walked for a while.
The ride was 4 laps with 178m elevation at a very short distance. After the 1st km, the climb had started which took around 1km. We had to climb this in 5km long ride for 4 times. :) It was tough! I could have ride faster during the downhills or on the flat road, but I didn't. I ended up finishing 20km in 49minutes with average 24.37 km/hour. It is very slow for me. It didn't worth to risk slipping.
Then I went to T2. It took 1 minute 9 seconds in T2. I wanted to do it under 1 minute. I will work on that.
The running part was nice, I started fast and it was 4 laps. I finished running part in 23 minutes 58 seconds. I was hoping for sub23 minutes, but I felt a pain in my spleen at the 3rd km and I was going with average 4.30min/km pace until that. but I dropped to 5min/km at the 4th km. It helped me to reduce my Heart Rate and the pain was gone. I ran faster in the last km and finished the run with 4.47 min/km average pace.
In the end, my total time was 1.32.22 which took me 4th place in my age group and 40th place in general. If I could bike faster, it would be so much easier for me to be 2nd or 3rd.
There is also one more thing, because of those ''health measures'', they divided the groups into two. Second wave has started at 11.30am or something. When they started, the weather was better, the sea was calm and the roads were dry and not slippery. They had advantage over those raced in the morning. The second and the third athlete in my Age Group has raced in the second wave and I was so close to them.
Anyway, this race was a wake up call for me. I have done it successfully. It reminded me the I should train more, I should eat healthier, and I should recover better.
Now, I am going to race at Istanbul Marathon on 8th of November. Then I will be ready for the new season!
I really look forward to race in my new age group! :)